In response to Pope Francis’ declaration of a yearlong celebration dedicated to St. Joseph, patron of the universal church, the Archdiocese of Louisville will host a day of prayer March 19, the feast of St. Joseph.
The pope’s apostolic letter entitled “Patris Corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”) was released Dec. 8, 2020, 150 years after St. Joseph was declared patron of the universal church. The “Year of St. Joseph” began that day and will conclude Dec. 8, 2021.
The local day of prayer will take place at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. 5th St.:
- Mass will be celebrated at noon.
- The unveiling and blessing of a newly-restored statue of St. Joseph from the year 1854 will follow Mass. The Mass and unveiling will be live streamed to the cathedral’s YouTube channel.
- Guided meditation on the life of St. Joseph will take place every hour on the hour beginning at 1 p.m. Participants will meditate on aspects of St. Joseph’s life, such as his obedience to God, his faithfulness as a husband and his protection of his family.
- Solemn vespers will wrap up the day at 7 p.m.
The more than 160-year-old statue was discovered last summer, only months before Pope Francis declared the Year of St. Joseph and is being restored to the cathedral. The statue was a part of the cathedral as far back as 1854, said Tim Tomes, who serves as archivist for the archdiocese. It was likely made locally and used to decorate the cathedral which was dedicated in 1852. The statue was removed in the 1970s when the cathedral was renovated, said Tomes. It was placed in storage and was damaged during a move.
Father Martin Linebach, rector of the Cathedral of the Assumption, said it is important to have a statue of St. Joseph in the cathedral because he is the patron of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“It all came together,” he said in a recent interview. “We decided to bless the statue and spend the day in prayer on the solemnity of St. Joseph. It’s beautiful that we’re able to preserve the statue which is such an important part of our history in the archdiocese. That’s important to me.”
The Archbishop of Louisville also bears St. Joseph’s name and has had a lifelong devotion to the saint.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said he’s known the guidance of St. Joseph all his life. Though his baptismal name came from two uncles on his mother’s and father’s side, Archbishop Kurtz said he believes St. Joseph has been present with him since his baptism, which was only 10 days after his birth. He’s had a “strong devotion” to the saint throughout his life, he said.
“I learned, from my baptism to receiving my first St. Joseph daily missal in the third grade and all the way to entering the St. Charles Seminary, as I look back, St. Joseph was there in the shadows,” said Archbishop Kurtz.
The archbishop added that Pope Francis wrote in his Lenten Message, “ ‘Love rejoices in seeing others grow.’ ”
“I think that captures St. Joseph in his being, in a sense — the silent foster father of Jesus watching him grow,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “As our patron of the archdiocese, St. Joseph is interceding and that means an awful lot to know that St. Joseph is interceding for us.”
The archdiocese’s Office of Worship has put together a list of resources online to help parishes and members of the faithful celebrate St. Joseph on March 19, as well as throughout the year. The resources can be found at www.archlou.org/stjoseph/.
Dr. Karen Shadle, director of the Office of Worship, said many of the resources are meant to be used in parishes, but the “idea is to make the domestic space a place to celebrate St. Joseph.”
For that reason, there are also several ideas for celebrating St. Joseph in the home. The website offers:
- A table blessing, a novena and other prayers.
- Recipes relating to St. Joseph, such as a Wood and Saw Cake, St. Joseph Spaghetti and St. Joseph Bread.
- Formational videos for adults.
- Crafts and activities for children.